Kids should never be allowed to use the internet. The internet has become a playground for predators, where pictures never really go away, trolling bigots ambush newsfeeds, and rehashed tweets can haunt careers for decades. How do we keep our children safe if we can’t altogether remove them from the grid?
It takes a child until their mid-20s to fully develop their prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that helps them plan and control impulses. Adam Pletter, a child psychologist, said, “Part of the parent’s obligation is to be in place of that judgment center to help the child make better choices.”
Parents should supervise and mentor their children’s online activities rather than spy on them so that they learn self-regulation skills and remain safe. Keep the conversation open so kids can talk to you if they encounter something disturbing.
Here are some apps to help you monitor your kids online.
The Bark app claims to have detected more than 629,000 severe bullying and harm situations. Bark can monitor over 30 social networks and video sites, and parents can block websites and apps, manage screen time, and get location updates. It prevents suicidal thoughts and inappropriate conversations with strangers, alerting parents if anything concerning is detected.
Like many other apps on this list, Qustodio allows parents to limit kids’ overall daily screen time. Still, it also allows them to set limits for individual apps and block out various periods, such as homework, dinner, and bedtime. The app blocks inappropriate content monitors what kids are looking at, and notifies kids when they arrive at specific locations. Moreover, it provides parents with daily, weekly, and monthly activity reports.
Kids can access websites without restriction because of curse words in the comments section and “masking” profanity on websites. Net Nanny does not monitor phone calls or texts but excels in real-time alerts when a child searches for porn, suicide, weapons, or drug-related content. It also has location tracking and screen time management features like other programs.